AFCON 2017 Qualifiers: Zimbabwe vs. Guinea – Match Preview

A poor coaching appointment has the Syli Nationale struggling in Group L of 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers. After an encouraging showing at the continental tournament last January, Michel Dussuyer left his post, and the Guinean Football Federation accepted CVs for the post vacancy.

In April, Luis Fernandez was selected to head the Guinean national football team. An integral part of France’s ‘magic square’ midfield alongside Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana, and Michel Platini, Fernandez is now a French household name as a sports talk show host.

Experts around the continent raised their eyebrows at the appointment and Fernandez immediately ran into an array of issues. Talisman Ibrahima Traore has rejected two consecutive call-ups from Fernandez, citing a personal disagreement with 55 year-old. For their upcoming match against Zimbabwe on Saturday, Abdul Razzougi Camara – who has enjoyed a blistering start for Angers this season – and Anderlecht utility man Ibrahima Conte have both also refused to turn up to training camp.

If Fernandez has lost the respect of his players, it may have been for declarations like he made a fortnight ago, when he said that he was not worried about losing the Guinea job, as he has other employment opportunities. After having lost their first match to Swaziland at home, the Guinean camp look in no form to scrape a positive result against Zimbabwe on Saturday afternoon.

Around the same time Guinea was impressing the footballing world in Equatorial Guinea in January, Zimbabwe were making different kinds of headlines. Hamstrung by debilitating debt ($4M USD), the country’s Football Association (ZIFA) could not find the funds to pay coach Jose Claudinei Georgini, who took to FIFA. Football’s governing body ruled the Warriors out of 2018 World Cup Qualifying.

For their first match of 2017 qualifying, Zimbabwe travelled to Blantyre, Malawi on bus – a nine-hour trip. Knowledge Musona and co. managed to pull off an astounding victory in hostile conditions. With a lack of funds it is interesting to see how these two sides, in antipodal positions, will go into Saturday’s match in Harare.

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